NCF Zombies 2015: A journal for the end of times
The game of Zombies is an annual, week-long game of tag in which the zombie horde tirelessly hunts the human resistance, whose only defense from joining the horde themselves are spray bottles and each other. As this reporter and other human players fought for their lives, campus was dead, and day by day, the zombie apocalypse wore on.
Sunday, Nov. 1
The apocalypse began at 3 a.m., as human players began acting on their plans for survival.
On the first night, groups of humans packed their things and relocated to their bases for the week. That night, six humans slept in a room in Z tower.
After a day of hiding in their rooms, survivors met at the baseball field for the first checkpoint, “Field of Doom,” in which they met the game-masters: second-years Lorraine Cruz and Mei-Jing Bernard. They then had to defend a fort in the middle of the field from the oncoming horde. After completing the checkpoint by spraying the zombies with water to repel them, the surviving humans retreated to where their groups were based to begin planning for the next day.
Monday, Nov. 2
The humans woke up early to go to their classes unnoticed by the horde. Throughout the day, travel in groups was crucial for humans to safely make it to everywhere they had to be.
At 4:30 p.m., a large group mainly consisting of members from two human groups known as “Hannah Montana Kill Squad” and “Z-Squad” made their way to Z-green for the first feat, “RIP the game-master,” in which they successfully defended Bernard from the horde.
At 6:30p.m., all surviving humans met at the Heiser parking lot for the “Everything or Nothing” checkpoint. The humans had to find both a box and a key containing a sign-up sheet in order to win. While a search party looked for the two objects by Heiser, a stationary group protected the rest of the humans from the horde in the parking lot.
Tuesday, Nov. 3
Tuesday was most notable for that night’s checkpoint, in which the humans had to split into three groups and each group had to defend one of the Pei Courts for 15 minutes.
As thesis student and eventual winner Conor Zhang put it: “Pei, while being a cozy little home, becomes a deadly maze of corners, bushes and poor lighting in zombies.”
The humans lost many more people that night, and the most difficult part was escaping from Pei once the checkpoint was over. Zhang’s group in Third Court hid in a Pei Room one of their members lived in, while zombies waited in the back, anticipating the humans escape from the room’s balcony. When it was time to leave, Zhang and two other humans exited the room and encountered a zombie, who quickly alerted the rest of the horde.
Zhang and the rest of the humans charged to the overpass, one of the game’s safe zones.
“A few zombies halfheartedly tried to stop us, but most of them seemed to have been waiting at the balcony,” Zhang recounted. “My companions were not so lucky though, neither of them made it to the overpass, and so I walked home alone.”
Wednesday, Nov. 4
Wednesday featured three feats as well as a checkpoint. Noon’s checkpoint was a game of chess at Dort and Goldstein where a human would have to win a game against a zombie, which the zombies won after no human showed up.
At 2 p.m., a group of zombies played dodgeball in the tennis courts against lone human second-year Brendan Legel, who defeated them single-handedly after being given more chances to overcome his numbers disadvantage.
At 4:30 p.m., the humans were required to defend Z-tower from the horde, and suffered their first feat casualty of the day: first-year Jack Belk.
“I saw one of the humans just standing low on the staircase, and reached up and grabbed his leg. Turns out his name is also Jack, first human I got by myself, a little bit of a coincidence there,” third-year and veteran zombie Jack Cox mused.
That night, humans returned to the baseball field for the fourth checkpoint, “Zig-Zag,” in which they had to defend the fort from Cox and the other zombies again, while also remaining aware of a new type of zombie that was immune to water but couldn’t travel in a straight line.
“I really liked what the game masters did there, we hadn’t really had something like that in the game before. It’s nice to see new things as this game keeps changing over time, and it’s a lot of fun to play when it keeps becoming different,” Cox added.
Thursday, Nov. 5
At 1 p.m., no humans showed up that day’s feat, in which veteran human player and alum Casey Dodge returned and was instructed to travel to Four Winds while repelling zombies by himself. When he succeeded, he was able to pick five humans to link arms with at the next checkpoint.
That night, tensions ran high at the checkpoint when the stress of the game led to three humans having panic attacks. The game was then called off for the night to give everyone a much-needed break.
Friday, November 7th
The game did not resume until the final checkpoint at 7:30 p.m. The humans had to hold the bell tower in front of the library for 10 minutes, before walking to the chickee hit at the bay. The zombies elected to not tag the humans, due to disappointment in human gameplay, and instead met them at the hut. There were 14 human survivors of the game, and all players were congratulated for their efforts by the game-masters.
“It definitely was a growing experience being part of the game and being involved with so many people. Everything I learned this year is something that I could apply in the future,” Cruz commented via email after the game.
“Despite all of the hurdles that we overcame I learned a lot about myself and how to deal with a variety of difficult situations and scenarios,” Bernard agreed via email. “I met so many great people and gained so much from this experience, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”